The Evil and Malevolence of the Pentagon’s Brilliant Strategy in Ukraine – The Future of Freedom Foundation
Saturday, February 19, 2022 9:19 PM
Below is a just-published essay by Jacob Hornberger who gives a “libertarian” and idealistic point of view re the ongoing crisis with Russia over Ukraine.
He compares current U.S. policy to that of FDR in the run-up to World War II. He points out that in both cases Washington had boxed in its self-assigned adversaries…Japan and now Russia. At first, this may seem far-fetched.
He talks about Pentagon strategy in the current crisis. But this is not something the Pentagon dreamed up on its own.
The policy was produced at the White House and inside State Department from the Washington foreign policy establishment, aka, The Blob. The U.S. did not sleepwalk into this situation, anymore than FDR sleepwalked into Pearl Harbor.
These were deliberate policies, executed by supposedly smart officials. Washington decided—actually just a handful of neocon & neoliberal apparatchiks—to expand NATO right into the face of Russia, even though Washington had given the Kremlin assurances in the early 1990’s that this would not happen.
You can read about it, mirabile dictu, in the current issue of Der Spiegel: NATO’S Eastward Expansion, Is Vladimir Putin Right? The answer is, yes. One paragraph in particular caught my attention:
The U.S. administration at the time also included influential hardliners like Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and his neo-conservative undersecretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz. These were men who dreamed of developing the U.S. into the only global superpower, and saw NATO primarily as a tool to assert U.S. dominance in Europe. The interest shown by countries in Eastern Europe in joining the alliance was helpful in that regard. The Defense Department urged that NATO leave "the door ajar.”
So the door was kept ajar in the early 1990’s. That was for starters. How much credit Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz get for it, I can’t say. Those two mischief-making Washington insiders forged ahead to become walking disasters for America at the start of the 21st Century.
Then there was the 2014 CIA/State Department coup which overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, replacing it with the current anti-Russian regime.
The person in charge of that bizarre enterprise was a busybody named Victoria Nuland, a Cheney protégé who then worked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and who now works for Papa Joe Biden and Antony “Blind Man” Blinken. In Washington, stirring the pot is the fast-track to promotion.
So the policy in eastern Europe has been deliberate, provocative and proactive since the end of the Cold War. The question is why, to what purpose? It appears that Washington is just looking to make trouble.
[Correction for Thursday: it was the ever-present Nuland, not Jen Psaki, who was press spokesperson for Hillary Clinton when Hillary was Secretary of State. Psaki was press secretary for John Kerry, who replaced Hillary as Secretary of State. Psaki worked as press flack for Saint Obama when he was a candidate and then in the White House. This means, in effect, that Victoria was a partner in crime with Hillary at the State Department.]
To return to Hornberger’s article. Since he does not cite sources and summarizes, the uninitiated might conclude that Hornberger is indulging in crackpot cartoon history when it comes to U.S. foreign policy under FDR. But if one has studied the behind-the-scenes history of the time, Hornberger’s narrative is almost perfect.
The idea was, then as now, to get the presumed adversary to fire the first shot. In FDR’s case, it was an absolute necessity, since there had to be a declaration of war back in those innocent days, and only Congress could do that.
But Congress and the American people were dead-set against it. Nowadays under the Imperial Presidency, the White House and The Blob have more leeway to do whatever they want. The American people and Congress are on the sidelines.
What I do not understand is why Japan’s leadership did not simply attack south of Japan to acquire the raw materials it required to survive. Why attack Pearl Harbor and thereby fall into FDR’s trap?
Hornberger states, “Japan knew that the U.S. Navy was almost certain to interfere with its oil supply after it invaded the Dutch East Indies. Thus, the only way to ensure that a continuous supply of oil was by knocking out the U.S. naval fleet.” I’m missing something.
Harvard-educated, grand admiral Yamamoto had warned the imperial war cabinet (Tojo) not to attack Pearl Harbor, because it would only awaken a sleeping giant. Evidently, Tojo and associates felt they had no choice.
After all, it was with Washington that Japan was negotiating to resolve the crisis; it was Washington that was leading the so-called ABCD powers to cut off raw materials to Japan.
Roosevelt had slammed the door shut in Japan’s face in the Washington negotiations. It was a matter of honor for Japan to strike back. Certainly, the attack at Pearl Harbor came as no surprise to FDR and his inner circle. It was, in fact, their work product.
But if Japan had simply ignored the U.S. and attacked Britain and the Dutch West Indies, I do not believe Congress would have given Roosevelt his declaration of war. I don’t see how, therefore, the U.S. Navy could have effectively blocked Japan from importing the raw materials from the south, as Hornberger suggests.
In an agreement with Vichy, Japan had already occupied French Indochina to guard against a British take-over of that colony. So Japan already had access to rubber supplies.
France was powerless to guard against a British take-over because Churchill had ordered the docked, demobilized French Fleet destroyed at Oran in North Africa after France had refused to turn it over to England. One of Churchill’s many war crimes.
I’m not comparing Papa Joe and his inner circle of goofs and dolts to FDR and his master co-conspirators who pulled off their stratagem against Japan, but Hornberger is essentially correct.
The tactic is the same, then and now. Box the opponent in, and give it two choices. My point is, all of this was and is gratuitous and criminal.
The Evil and Malevolence of the Pentagon’s Brilliant Strategy in UkraineJacob G. HornbergerFebruary 18, 2022
The crisis in Ukraine demonstrates the sheer brilliance of Pentagon strategists. Yes, granted, it’s an evil and malevolent strategy, but nonetheless one cannot help but admire it (in a negative way) for its sheer ingenuity.
The strategy has involved maneuvering Russia into having to make a choice between two scenarios, both of which have bad consequences. The choices are these: (1) Russia does not invade Ukraine, in which case the U.S.-controlled NATO absorbs Ukraine, which means U.S. bases, missiles, tanks, and troops permanently situated on Russia’s borders; or (2) Russia invades Ukraine and takes over the reins of government, in which case U.S. officials portray Russia as a horrific aggressor that now threatens the rest of Europe, the United States, and all mankind.
Like I say, it’s an evil and malevolent strategy but everyone has to concede that it is absolutely ingenious.
The box into which the Pentagon has placed Russia reminds me of the equally ingenious strategy that President Franklin Roosevelt employed to get the United States into World War II. Prior to U.S. entry into the war, the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entering the conflict, especially after the fiasco of U.S. intervention into World War I.
This was at a time when U.S. presidents were still complying with the constitutional provision that requires them to secure a declaration of war from Congress before being able to wage war legally and constitutionally against another nation-state. Owing to the overwhelming opposition to entering the war, FDR knew that he could not get Congress to declare war on Germany.
Thus, FDR decided that he needed to figure out a strategy that would induce Germany to attack the United States, which would then enable him to go to Congress and exclaim, “We’ve been attacked! I am shocked! This is a day that will live in infamy! Now give me my declaration of war so that I can begin waging war against Germany.”
Thus, Roosevelt did everything he could to induce the Germans into attacking U.S. vessels in the Atlantic. But the strategy didn’t work. The Germans knew what FDR was up to and refused to take his bait.
So, Roosevelt looked instead toward the Pacific and embarked on a course of action designed to induce Japan into attacking the United States. FDR hoped that such an attack would give him a “back door” to the European war.
Knowing that Japan’s military needed oil to operate its war machine in China, Roosevelt imposed a highly effective oil embargo on Japan. That left Japan with two choices: (1) Withdraw its military forces from China, or (2) Attack the Dutch East Indies to secure a permanent supply of oil.
Not surprisingly, Japan chose Option 2. But Japan knew that the U.S. Navy was almost certain to interfere with its oil supply after it invaded the Dutch East Indies. Thus, the only way to ensure that a continuous supply of oil was by knocking out the U.S. naval fleet. That’s what the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor was all about. The attack was never about conquering the United States. It was always about simply trying to knock out the U.S. fleet to ensure a continuous supply of oil for Japan’s war machine in China.
The canny FDR left American warships (but not American carriers) in Pearl Harbor as bait for the Japanese. His strategy worked brilliantly. Sure, he had to sacrifice some warships and some troops at Pearl Harbor (as well as in the Philippines), but his ingenious strategy enabled him to achieve his goal. Soon after the Japanese attack, Germany declared war on the United States. FDR dutifully went to Congress, played the innocent, exclaimed a day of infamy, and got his declaration of war and U.S. entry into World War II.
Yes, Roosevelt’s strategy was evil and malevolent, but you can’t help but admire it for its sheer brilliance. Like the Pentagon has done with Ukraine, FDR manipulated the situation so that Japanese officials were put into a box that entailed choosing from two available alternatives, both of which came with bad consequences from the standpoint of Japan.
(Also, see my recent blog post “Setting Up Crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine.”)
Today, all that the Pentagon — along with its loyal supporters in the executive branch, including President Biden and the bureaucrats in the State Department, and along with its loyal acolytes in the mainstream press — has to do is sit back and watch Russia squirm.
If it invades Ukraine, it will be portrayed as the supreme aggressor nation, which will then be used to justify the continued existence of the U.S. national-security establishment and NATO, along with ever-increasing budgets, power, and influence for the U.S. “defense” establishment.
If Russia declines to invade, NATO absorbs Ukraine and the Pentagon installs its military bases, troops, missiles, and tanks on Russia’s border, thereby ensuring a state of constant tension and crisis, which, once again, ensures ever-increasing taxpayer-funded largess for the national-security establishment, its Cold War dinosaur NATO, and the entire U.S. “defense” industry that feeds at the public trough.
The only way out of this evil statist morass lies with the American people. What is needed is a great awakening within Americans, one that comes with both a heightened sense of consciousness of the evil of a national-security state form of governmental structure and a heightened sense of conscience that enables people to recognize the evil and malevolence within their own government, not to mention the danger of playing games with a nation-state that has the potential of unleashing a massive number of mushroom clouds over American cities and towns.
If that great awakening were to transpire, America could restore its founding governmental system of a limited-government republic and put our nation back on the road toward liberty, peace, prosperity, morality, and harmony with the people of the world.